WASHINGTON -- In what bid to be the closest election in 40 years, Americans elected a new president Tuesday, choosing from between Republican George W. Bush, who promised to be a "uniter not a divider" and Democrat Al Gore, who claimed he alone has the experience to "fight for you and win."
The country also elected a new Congress and 11 governors.
Exhausted by the effort, the candidates -- Bush, the governor of Texas and son of a president, and Gore, the vice president, for eight years a presidential understudy -- surrendered their fate to the voters and made ready to join millions of their fellow citizens at the polls.
1996 Crow Wing County results
Bill Clinton -- 44.51 percent (8,060)
Bob Dole -- 39.69 percent (7,187)
Ross Perot -- 13.79 percent (2,497)
In the Chicago area, two voters seemed to sum up many people's views of the race. In suburban Rogers Park, dentist John Scovic said integrity was the issue that led him to vote for Bush. "I just think George Bush has more leadership skills and a more principled, centered-type personality," Scovic said.
But Bruce Mitzit, who works in information technology at the University of Chicago, said he chose Gore because Bush "wants to make life easy for big business and for the wealthy."
Gore greeted several hundred people upon his arrival Tuesday morning in Nashville, ending a 30-hour campaign sprint with no sleep. The vice president headed to his mother Pauline's house for a shower and a bit of a rest before voting at the Forks River Elementary School.
Democratic presidential candidate Vice President Al Gore and his running mate Sen. Joseph Lieberman cheer at supporters during their final campaign stop with workers on their way to "Get Out The Vote" at the Hillsborough County Coordinated Campaign Headquarters in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2000. Gore's visit is part of a 30-hour campaign sprint through key voter states. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
Bush, after taking coffee to his wife, Laura, talked to his parents and "told them not to worry, everything will be fine," said Bush campaign spokesman Gordon Johndroe.
Before voting, Bush also made several phone calls to friends around the country, read the Bible to himself and spoke by phone on radio shows broadcast in San Francisco; Portland, Ore., and Seattle. He also called a few voters, telling a woman in Detroit who pledged her support: "Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
President Clinton, admitting he felt nostalgic as an election bystander, voted for his wife for the Senate at their new home in Chappaqua, N.Y., and telephoned radio stations to make a case for voting for Gore. "There is a feeling in the country, that I pick up, that people want to keep the prosperity going," the president told voters.
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